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RMA outlines tire safety priorities to NHTSA

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Following the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) request for public comments on vehicle safety rulemaking priorities for 2002-2005, the Rubber Manufacturers Association proposed regulatory harmonization for the global tire industry and reaffirmed its position on various Transportation Recall, Enhancemet, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act-related issues.

RMA's comments outline four major points on these issues.

First, RMA advises NHTSA to reassess the proposed tire testing standards in light of existing regional and international standards.

"Differing standards make it more difficult for tire manufacturers to focus on safety and performance innovations and cause manufacturers to spend considerable resources on varying labeling, marking and testing protocols," said Donald Shea, RMA president and CEO.

"NHTSA should regain its role in pursuing global harmonization," Shea added. "These efforts will serve the U.S. economy and the American consumer well."

The RMA also reasserted its position that NHTSA adopt its pending petition for rulemaking to establish a minimum tire pressure reserve for passenger and light truck tires.

"RMA believes that a requirement for a specific pressure reserve will ensure that consumers are notified when one or more tires on a vehicle are operating below the pressure needed to carry the maximum load of the vehicle," the RMA wrote.

The association also recommends that the agency issue final regulations that prohibit them from disclosing early warning data submitted by tire manufacturers to outside entities.

Lastly, RMA supports establishing policies and procedures to ensure that all tires purchased by American consumers are subject to the new regulatory requirements mandated by the TREAD Act.

"We believe our comments provide NHTSA with a snapshot of RMA members' views on the priorities that should be placed on specific tire-related regulations required by the TREAD Act," Shea said. "We look forward to working with the agency in its effort to prioritize the safety rulemakings for the next three years."

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